Queenie Lei is the first recipient of Volunteer of the Semester for Summer 2017. This award ‘Volunteer of the Semester’ is given to an Embark volunteer that has been involved with Embark for at least 2 consecutive semesters and recognizes that the individual has gone above and beyond in their role as a volunteer. Since 2013, Queenie has been involved with the Communications Media team and below is an interview where she will share what she has learned in her roles as a blog writer and a communication assistant.
I first joined Sustainable SFU (now Embark) back in 2013 as a blog writer. Late into 2013, I was searching for volunteer opportunities related to writing and sustainability. I wanted a platform where I can explore my interests and express my opinions on environmental issues. I was also heavily influenced by my friend Jennifer as she co-founded Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network and Youth 4 Tap where these two initiatives unite Burnaby students to take action towards a more sustainable future for Burnaby school district.
As an SFU student majoring in Communication and minoring in International studies (specifically the International Development, Economic and Environmental Issues stream), taking different classes such as Global Environment Politics, Environment, Media and Communication and Poverty and Politics of Aid really helped me to discover my passion for environmental issues and sustainability. As a blog writer for Embark, I was able to write my opinions on many topics such as introducing Fair Trade at SFU, the 2015 transit referendum, my time at City University of Hong Kong and much more! As an avid social media user, I was also passionate about sharing my interests on social media platforms. And when I saw that Embark was looking for various Communication assistants, I found this as the perfect opportunity for me as I can promote different initiatives that Embark is a part of and develop my written communication skills even further.
There were several things I learned as a blog writer and as a Communication Assistant:
1) Learning to compromise
I’ll admit that there were a few times when I felt frustrated and wanted to quit but you learn to compromise by integrating your ideas and the feedback you received from the blogging coordinator. By integrating my ideas with the feedback I received from the blogging coordinator, it made my blog piece stronger and more engaging.
2) Teamwork is everything!
As a communications assistant and a blog writer, I was able to work with many incredible people and to learn from them.
3) Building on your skills
Being in my two roles really allowed me to be challenged and to work outside of my comfort zone. While the task of running a social media account may look simple, it can get quite challenging because I am constantly finding out new ways to make the content more engaging and different. Hence, as a Communication Assistant, it really brings out the creative side in me and sharpening my communication and teamwork skills!
To me, Embark Sustainability is definitely an organization that allows you to explore your interests, develop your skills while inspiring other students to become more eco-conscious! Throughout my time as a blog writer and a communication assistant at Embark, I have seen so much growth and positive changes within Embark and at SFU! I’m honored to be selected as the first recipient of Embark’s Volunteer of the Semester!